Moorea, Tahiti - The 2023 XTERRA World Tour is set to culminate in tropical lagoon waters and the surrounding jungle trails as the XTERRA Tahiti Triathlon brings a close to the season on October 21, 2023. Athletes from around the globe will converge on the island of Moorea, ready to tackle a course that promises both challenge and beauty.
As the final race of the XTERRA 2023 Triathlon World Tour, the stakes are high. An elite prize purse of $7,500 and 28 slots for the 2024 XTERRA World Championship in Molveno, Italy, await the top age group contenders.
Competitors will take on a 1.5K open water swim, transitioning into a grueling 34K MTB ride boasting 1,000 meters of elevation gain, and culminating in a 10K trail run through the island's tropical jungle, with an additional 340 meters of elevation gain.
The island's natural landscape, characterized by steep mountain trails and lush vegetation, offers an ideal setting for an extreme sports contest like no other. XTERRA Tahiti is often described as a dream multisport race, providing all athletes with a unique and unforgettable experience on the island. Recognized globally as one of the most epic races, XTERRA Tahiti is known for vibrant challenges set against an idyllic backdrop.
XTERRA Tahiti Race Organizer Jean Michel Monot shared his anticipation, stating, “The island of Moorea can’t wait to see 300 athletes set off in the waters of the lagoon and on the trails of the Opunohu caldera. The rain of the last few days has made the terrain a little more technical, but the sun should be back this weekend. The race promises to be very exciting with the participation of the best riders from the XTERRA circuit.”
XTERRA Tahiti showcases several elite athletes vying for the top spot. Here's a closer look at some of the top contenders:
World Ranking – Name, NAT
1 – Solenne Billouin, FRA: Outstanding performances in the XTERRA triathlon circuit and back to back World Championship titles, puts Billouin clearly ahead of the women’s pack this Saturday. Her consistent top finishes emphasize her dominance as she shared her thoughts on the race ahead, “I feel so grateful to be here and explore a new country once again. XTERRA is the biggest triathlon race here in Moorea.”
Billouin remarked on the conditions ahead by saying, “Weather conditions are hot and humid so I’m also ready to fight the elements."
1 – Arthur Serrières, FRA: Current XTERRA World Cup Champion and winner of the 2023 XTERRA World Championship makes Serrières the double champ heading into Tahiti’s closer for the 2023 World Tour. Plenty of first place finishes this season including XTERRA Germany, Czech and Oak Mountain to name a few, puts Serrières at the top of the Men’s category and the outright favorite to capture the fastest overall time on this course.
3 – Arthur Forissier, FRA: Making a highly anticipated comeback from injury this weekend. Forissier was looking to be one of Serrières's biggest competitors for the 2023 season after immediately claiming the World Cup leader's jersey at the APAC Championship in Taiwan and backing that up with a 2nd place finish at the European Championship in Belgium. But a crash on the bike at XTERRA Czech that resulted in a broken collarbone put an abrupt end to his 2023 campaign.
Excitement surrounds his return in Tahiti for the final race of the season with Forissier exclaiming, “Running here in Tahiti is a personal victory for me and for all those who helped me recover from my injury!"
4 – Ruben Ruzafa Cueto, ESP: Delivering time and again with strong performances in XTERRA events, Ruzafa secured 4th place in the 2023 XTERRA World Championship and the XTERRA World Cup. He also achieved 2nd place in the 2023 XTERRA USA Championship.
5 – Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DNK: Another dominant name from the 2023 season, Sloth Nielson achieved 3rd place in the 2023 XTERRA World Championship and took the same step on the podium for the XTERRA World Cup.
Known in the sport as “The Overtaker” for what he does on the bike, Sloth Nielsen gave his take on Saturday’s race saying, “There are 3 former world champions on the startlist, so I will have to do a podium. But if I manage hydration and humidity well, maybe I can go for the win.” He added, "I'm excited for the last race of the season, so [let’s] make it a big experience!"
On Sunday, October 22, the "Aremiti" Fun Tri will offer a more relaxed racing experience, perfect for kids and newcomers to the XTERRA format. This event will feature a 250M swim in the Moorea lagoon, a 6K MTB course, and a quick 3K trail course on the island.
XTERRA Tahiti is gearing up to be more than just a race; it's an electrifying fusion of nature's raw beauty and athletic tenacity. With the world's elite setting foot on this tropical paradise, the stage is set for a showdown that will not only challenge their limits but also etch unforgettable memories in the sands of time. Get ready, because XTERRA Tahiti is about to redefine epic!
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